I see a lot of bench plans out there. The bench will go in my garage
and I do work on my cars occasionally like brakes and any other small
component replacement. But mostly its going to be building cabinets and
deck for my house. I want a nice flat sturdy face. And Ill be hanging
up pegboard behind it on the wall so I don't want a hutch.
I like the 'Full Service Workbench' from wood magazine.
I like the 'Weekend' bench from plansnow.com but not so much the
mechanics bench or the handymans bench.
Pretty much those are the only two I have seen that are nice. Any
favorites out there?
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
I just went through this, having moved into a new house. I did
something really simple. Lag screwed 2x4s to wall, and in a corner.
Cantilevered frame to foundation, so I have essentially full clearance
under this. Bench is 24" deep. Went to Lowes and had them take a 4'x8'
sheet of 3/8 plywood and cut it lengthwise into two 24" x 8' pieces.
Put one on the frame (also 2x4s). Screwed it down. Put construction
cement, and cemented 2nd sheet down, which is also screwed down with
dry wall screws (the short ones). Three coats of grey enamel for a nice
finish. Edges stick out 1 1/2" for a lip on front side and one end.
Bench vises then either bolt through with bolts and washers, or the two
smaller ones that clamp/screw on are then braced with small blocks of
2x4 cut to fit, glued, and screwed in place with deck screws. A
I do some carpentry, automotive work, and gunsmithing, so a level and
solid surface was the major consideration.
I haven't worked out the lighting completly yet. Have a desk lamp
clamped to one end. Overhead flour. lights a possibility, but I have a
very high ceiling in the garage.
Steel wire shelf for storage (put this in first), two peg boards at
either end, electrical strips at either end. Salvaged kitchen base
cabinet slips under for some storage, and two of the Black and Decker
plastic storage cabinets for the rest.
I do both metalwork/welding and woodworking. I found the best combination
is NOT to combine. Find a place two benches. If this is simply out of the
question, have a heavy gauge sheet metal top made that will fit over the
woodworking bench. I used a version of this in reverse. I had an old
butcher-block type countertop that fit over my metal working bench. The
only pain was the vises. Woodworking vises hate doing metalwork and visa
i have a book from the library called "the workbench book" by Landis. It
has a lot of pictures. 100 dwgs and 250 photos. 247pages. it allowed my
to spend enough time browsing to see why benches are the same, why they are
constructed the same. I had to open Lee Valley so I could see what shoulder
screws and tail screws, threaded rods, hooks, benchstops, and holdfasts
You need to get your parts first- vice(s), whether removable, or
under-mounted, or the parts, and all your dogs, clamps etc.. rods first.
From several sources. When you know, you know.
Drill 3/4" round dog holes on the front and side legs and top, use
adjustable leveling feet
underneath front apron clamping (groove)
removable machinist vise - u want the whole table top and projection to
yourself when not in use- I haven't figured how yet - some say to mount a
jig in your woodworkers vice. Then get the sledgehammer- right.
Definefelty want it out of the way (off)
you want to put boards down directly in front of you to see both sides for
im making a mess
oh ya, if a smooth surface is needed, say for nice painting, hardboard is
about $10 for a 4x8 sheet I think. Like 1/8" or 3/16 or whatever. Same for
whiteboard (softer 1/8").
hardboard has that very smooth oily-looking polished surface look.
The dual boards are for leaving a tool tray below the surface of the main
Actually, if you plan to work on cars (dirty, greasey stuff) and
cabinets (need clean, smooth, dust/grease free areas), you should
either find a way to make it two benches, or somehow have a way
to switch the surface from nice and clean to "ok to get dirty".
A grease stain on a cabinet or piece of decent wood is a bit_h to
when I was first starting out and space was a premium, I found
an old chest freezer top I took apart, and used the metal for
keeping the bench clean for when I did car work. It cleaned
easily, had lips, in case gas or oil or whatever spilled, to
contain parts & liquids and was real easy to clean up afterwards.
And of course it did a decet job of keeping the woodworking area
of the bench in shape.
If you can, IMO, have at least a small "L" shape on one end of
the bench. I ended up putting my pipe vise on it - and parts
cabinets. Also watch the overhead room; you want it as clear as
The really important parts of a bench are its strength, stability
and drawers/doors underneath, if you have that much gumption.
I always started by checking the space, and then building the
bench accordingly. That means plans are harder to find, but
they're generally easy to modify to fit. The better you start
with, the less time you'll spend "adding" bells and whistles
later <g>, but you'll still add them.
workbench was on my mind last night. I was gluing a face frame
together, but didnt have any flat surface. Then cleaned off this old
table of my wifes in the basement I had tools piled on. Nice flat
surface. But I wonder, how do you get the spilled glue off the surface
of the bench once you glue a face frame or what have you, together?
Right now im somewhat fruastrated. We bought a bigger house 3 years
ago. Having a hard time finding a place for all this junk!
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
Put some melamine over the table you have and use that as your
assembly table. The glue won't stick to it, run a chisel or
screwdriver over it and it'll pop right off.
Then build yourself one up against the wall to work on. Don't sweat
the details unless you have specific needs. Over-build it not over-
engineer or over-think it and move on to actually doing things with
it. Doubled up 2x4s for posts. The thicker the top the better. I
like having open shelving under it with a powerstrip nearby. Keep the
most used tools plugged in with easy access right there, and they
aren't taking up space on the work surface.
My bench is accessible from all around, but it sounds like you want
one to go up against a wall. A back-board bench might work for you.
There's workbench plans in Time Life books, including one for a
back-board bench. These are made from 2x4s and materials readily
available. My bench is all 2x4s, large, and can be broken down for
moving if necessary.
"The Workbench Book" by Landis is an excellent resource.
One of the truths about bench building is that the best bench for one
purpose is often no so good for another. I have four bench-like spaces in
my shop. Melamine makes a great surface for assembly, gluing and finishing,
but not so good for pounding. Wall-mounted benches suck for assembly of
anything bigger than a jewelry box. I know this because that's all I used to
have. Higher is better for close-up detail work, lower is better for hand
planing because you have to get your weight up over the workpiece. "High" or
"low" is also a function of your personal stature.
Landis' book will give you lots of ideas of what bench designs work for
what types of activities.
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